20 May 2022

Ghost Diving Germany recovers more than 500kg ghost nets from the North Sea

Ghost Diving Germany made their first project in the North Sea of East Frisia 2022 May 2-7. Starting on Monday morning with total flat sea and sunny weather, they have been able to go out for diving all five days. That’s incredible for the North Sea region!

Sponsored by NV-Versicherung, Tauchversicherung and Besser Grün, 12 divers and 10 supporters were living in Tinyhouses in Harlesiel for the whole week. They started every morning to harbour of Neuharlingersiel and left with two boats, diving at five different locations over the week. Diving RHIBs were accompanied by up to three old fishing boats who carried guests from press and employees of sponsors companies and picked up the recovered nets. One of the two diving boats is owned by Gezeitentaucher, they supported with manpower and their good knowledge of the diving locations. Thanks to them as well as to all sponsors and not named people!

The challenge in the Wadden Sea is on the one hand the weather and on the other hand side current and bad visibility. Based on tides, the time slot is very limited where diving with reduced current is possible only. Therefore, very accurate planning and strict following the plan was very important to ensure at least 50 to 65 minutes dives. The wrecks have been located by sonar systems and marked with buoys before the volunteer divers started to look for the wrecks and the nets stuck to the wrecks. The wrecks in the North Sea have been blasted in the years after second world war. Therefore, they could find fragments of wrecks only as expected. The lost nets tangled on the wreck parts as everywhere on the world but based on the regular strong tides the nets are entangled more times around the wrecks and it is a hard work to cut bigger parts out. In teams of two or three divers they went to different parts of each wreck in depths up to 23 meters and with safety first strategy they managed each dive.

Every day diving was possible, but in different conditions. From flat sea up to 2-meter waves, awesome visibility up to three meters and limited to 30 cm as well as no current and even swell in depth of 20 meter depth.
Filling logistic has been realized by Ghost Diving Germany with two small private compressors as diving in that region of the North Sea is not common and no dive centers are close to the spot. Therefore, a lot of work had to be done even in the evenings, between nice dinners.

After five days, 240 nautical miles, and 45 hours bottom time, 12 divers are glad as they recovered more than 500kg ghost nets from the wrecks around Spiekeroog and Langeoog.

Very good teamwork!

Ralf Duckheim

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